Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

February 8, 2013

Wheelchair accessible public toilet in Kathmandu?

In my first post, I talked about Sita Maya’s difficulty in going to the toilet, which was at a distance from her house in Baglung. But a lack of access to toilet is something urbanites with disabilities such as me face too – all the time.

I am a wheelchair user in Kathmandu. I try to travel around Kathmandu as much as I can. But it is difficult for me to find a wheelchair accessible toilet in the city. Most cinema halls, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, banks, private organisations, NGOs, INGOs and even government offices do not have toilets that provide access to a wheelchair user.

The blogger - Sagar Prasai

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December 8, 2010

Lords of WASH

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags: — Ashutosh Tiwari @ 4:20 pm

Do religion and WASH have something in common? It turns out, they do.

On a recent field visit to Doti district in Far Western Nepal, I saw public taps that had Lord Ganesh at the top of their stands.  (Picture below)

My traveling companion, Umesh Pandey, one of Nepal’s best known sanitation activists and who also runs our partner NGO NEWAH, had this to say: “In the past, after we were done installing a public tap in a community, we saw that some people chose to defecate right around the tap area. This created problems — not only in one or two communities, but in all the communities we chose to work. And we came up with this idea.”

The idea was to affix “God Tiles” at the head of the tap stand, and turn the public tap into a mini-temple of sorts. Once something is seen as a temple, so to speak, people are less likely to defecate and urinate around it, and they are likely to keep it clean.

Umesh added that NEWAH can affix Hindu, Christian and Muslim “God Tiles” on public tap stands depending on what a particular community prefers.

Whoever said, “cleanliness is next to Godliness” surely had it right.

Written by Ashutosh Tiwari, Country Representative, WaterAid in Nepal

November 17, 2010

Engaging civil society in SACOSAN

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags: — Shikha Shrestha @ 7:37 am

The Third South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) Delhi Declaration has been an incredible milestone of recognizing access to sanitation and safe drinking water as a basic right and according national priority to sanitation is imperative. It has aspired civil society working on the sector as well as people affected by deprivation of WASH right to work harder in realization of these basic rights. On 30 September 2010, the UN passed a resolution affirming access to water and sanitation as human right.

SACOSAN IV planned for 4-8 April 2011 in Sri Lanka is awaited with more expectations to bring changes in sanitation access. It is not only government but civil society are also working together to make this event a huge success to bring an impacting change in the sector. Preparatory meeting among civil society representatives was organized to develop common understanding on different approaches of working together for amplifying peoples voices in the SACOSAN process.

Collaboration Terms of Reference has been endorsed for promoting collaboration spirit while engaging civil society for SACOSAN IV.   It is sometime natural for people to promote visibility of their organization/network while working even as a collaborative team incorporating different institutions. Time has come to think beyond individual institution and think more of a joint credibility. It is definitely unfair to sideline some organizations if they had been a part of team to work vigorously so let’s go for a joint credibility to ensure impacting results in sanitation sector.

Pre CSO consultation for SACOSAN has been recognized as a support for consolidating recommendations from peoples perspective. Therefore, it has been planned to organize the consultation on 1-2 April 2011 in Sri Lanka. The consultation will provide open space for civil society organizations to discuss and debate on the concerns of sanitation for providing opportunity to develop minimum understanding on the sanitation agenda. Equity, inclusion and sustainable services can be major theme of discussion where peoples perspective results can be shared through interviewed people. Story of people from their own voices can carry a strong message.

Peoples Perspective Research has been regarded as a tool for amplifying peoples concerns with regard to sanitation services. The research will scrutinize peoples feeling on successful and failure sanitation services together with grievances of people who were deprived from these basic services. It will ease process of identifying key challenges/issues faced in sustainable sanitation in South Asia that will be key inputs from people towards SACOSAN IV. Traffic light papers to review status of commitment of SACOSAN III Delhi declaration and CSO Delhi declaration will add more insights to the SACOSAN IV.

Civil society and government are key wheels of development. They should play complementary role to support each other as both agencies want to accelerate pace of development in their respective countries. Common goal of ensuring  sanitation and water for all can be reached only when there is a spirit of collaboration so that simple disease like dirrohoea cannot kill 10,500 children each year in Nepal.

Written by Shikha Shrestha, Advocacy and Research Officer, WaterAid in Nepal

November 4, 2010

Can we really say we’re reaching out to everyone?

Filed under: Advocacy,Equity and inclusion — Tags: , , , — Om Prasad Gautam @ 11:52 am

Since WaterAid’s mission is to reach marginalised and vulnerable people, equity and inclusion cuts across all of our work. However, a recent training session for WaterAid staff on equity and inclusion raised some important points for consideration.It became clear that if we are to make WASH facilities accessible to all members of society, including those with disabilities such as wheelchair users or visually impaired people, significant adaptations will need to be considered. Adaptations could include providing aids and equipment, modifying existing latrines and designing and constructing accessible, usable, safe, hygienic and affordable latrines which respect privacy and dignity, using inclusive, appropriate and low-cost design and technologies.

To give an example of equity and inclusion in action, an accessibility audit of sanitation facilities at a school was carried out as part of the training, revealing some shocking results. When auditing the boys latrines, it became evident that none of the 16 squatting pan latrines are inclusive. There was a lack of a clear path to reach the toilet block, no guide rail or landmark to help visually impaired people follow the path and uneven steps in between paths causing potential difficulties to wheelchair users. In addition, the toilet entrances were narrow, with all the doors opening inwards, insufficient light inside the toilets, and nothing to hold onto while squatting. There was also no water inside any of the latrines and no water points nearby. The hand washing stations that were installed earlier outside the toilets are also now fully damaged with none of them currently functional.

To make the facilities more inclusive, two key changes were suggested to the school, the first being the construction of an accessible new toilet close to the classroom blocks with one cubical for boys and one for girls. The second: to modify the existing toilets, making at least one of the cubicles accessible and ensuring all toilets are kept clean and hygienic with water and soap provided for hand washing. This will improve the situation at this school but this is obviously just one school.

To ensure we are working to target all marginalised and vulnerable people in our work, we clearly need to embed equity and inclusion indicators into all of our data collection tools and systems and into all of our programmes and plans. While our Nepal ‘country paper’ already includes several equity and inclusion related components, there is still great potential in terms of the impact we can make. We could, for example, work with the government to develop a technical standard for inclusive sanitation, or even run a job fair specifically targeting those with disabilities.

Shared learning and collaborative working in the area of equity and inclusion will also be key, to allow us to make a more powerful impact both at a practical and policy level. World Vision Ethiopia, who also attended the training, have been working on incorporating disability issues into their health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation programmes for the past three years. Since both organisations work within the WASH sector, there is potential for us to work collectively on accessibility issues within WASH, developing, for example, a minimum standard for inclusiveness within WASH projects.

I am optimistic about the impact that WaterAid can have in this area but would obviously be interested to hear any feedback and comments from our readers on these issues.

Written by Om Prasad Gautam, Social Development Advisor, WaterAid in Nepal

October 11, 2010

Global Sanitation Fund launched in Nepal

Filed under: Advocacy,Sanitation — Tags: , , — Anita Pradhan @ 11:15 am

KATHMANDU: The government in coordination with Global Sanitation Fund today launched National Sanitation Programme to improve the country’s sanitation sector. Nepal is the third country after Madagascar and Senegal to launch the GSF programme with funds from Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works and UN-HABITAT said in a press statement. GSF has pledged financial assistance of $50 million, which will be used for drafting and implementing effective sanitation plans. The fund will also be used for meeting Millennium Development Goal’s sanitation targets.

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August 11, 2010

Claiming campaign changes, is it possible?

Filed under: Advocacy,Campaigns — Tags: , — Shikha Shrestha @ 11:53 am

People desire appreciations that motivate them to give their fullest potential and lead life with pride of their competencies.  Some people tend to be very conscious of their accomplishments and they articulate well that project them as successful citizen. On contrary, there are some people who lag behind on articulating what they have achieved and seem to prefer corners than coming to limelight. The journeys of these people are entirely different and their lives do not resemble same fame. Isn’t it same even for different nature of development programs?

Service delivery programs focus on developing infra-structures and making people access to services. It can be construction of toilets and taps. Nature of this program allows people to see tangible effects right after accomplishment of this projects. People tend to be part of this project as they can easily benefit and count achievements in numbers. It is very easy to count changes and project the number of service users by counting numbers of people using this infrastructure. It is very easy and simple for claiming the changes, isn’t it?

It has been proved that service delivery alone is not sufficient. We have seen lots of infrastructures that have not been properly utilized. We come across some development interventions that seem to us more like wastage of money and wish there could have been good use of the resources in developing countries. These bobbling of brain and ideas helped in emergence of sector influencing concept. It aspired on ensuring best use of resources and putting government in forefront seat as driver of development.

Social campaigning has been integral component of sector influencing. Campaigning is speaking up, drawing a community’s attention to an important issue, and directing decision-makers towards a solution.  In most instances, campaigning foresee larger changes in society and political dimensions. It is natural for all campaigners to work together with large group of people, organizations, networks and alliances. In this scenario, attribution to the larger changes is bit complicated that it seems.

Nothing is impossible in this world, if people do not fear of mistakes and put their brains together. Component of measuring changes should be inbuilt from the inception of the campaign. In most instances, campaigning aims in changing behavior of people or group for changing power dynamics. Therefore, indicators to measure changes of behavior should be taken seriously. Innovative approaches of monitoring like outcome mapping that focus on measuring behavior changes can be used as the useful monitoring tools for tracking out the changes brought forward by these campaigns.

Baseline survey and formative research focusing on quantitative and qualitative aspect act as a baseline references for measuring changes. The former will focus on what is situation while later analyze why this situation. Therefore, mixed approach of analyzing the situation before hand is very crucial factor to enable us in prescribing changes that can campaign can bring in the similar setting.

It is true that there are changes in society but how can we claim that these changes are because of our interventions? These are some struggling questions that comes to our mind as the campaigners, isn’t it? There are several ways to help us in attributing these changes. The most successful evidence has revealed that attribution can be done only when there is comparison. Experimental mode of evaluation where there is comparison between experiment community with our campaign interventions and similar control community without any such interventions. Differences in these two communities are considered as the attribution of these campaigning interventions. However, it has been found that it is not affordable to find this control community and keep them aloof from any such interventions. In this context, partly experimental mode has been used where experiment community will be compared with similar comparison community. The crucial thing that should be considered is experiment, control and comparison should be similar at the point of campaign initiation.

Evaluation methods

Campaigners should be attentive in analyzing changes in exposed communities. There will be two types of people in the community, one very active and other passive ones. People with enthusiasm are generally the ones that grasp knowledge spread by the campaign and change their attitude. It will then only inspire these people to change their practices. Therefore, it is very crucial to analyze what made these people active and what made them change their behavior to make sure that our campaign has helped them to change their attitude and behavior.

Claiming big changes is a thrill, isn’t it? It is so natural that all campaigners engaged in sanitation and water will want to claim that they have contributed in having sanitation and water as right in draft constitution of Nepal. Claiming of these changes should be supported by process documentation on what as the campaigners, networks or alliance has contributed in bringing such policy changes? We should claim what we can prove with pride. In the long run, we can claim that these are the good policies and practice changes we brought together as the group, not as an individual. So, why not start tracking and attributing these changes so that we can lead life full of aspirations and achievements?

Written by Shikha Shrestha, Advocacy and Research Officer, WaterAid in Nepal

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